St. Dominic: Vir Evangelicus - a man of the Gospel

In the early sources, saint Dominic is called a man of the Gospel - vir evangelicus. This refers of course to his service of the Gospel as a preacher, but also to his way of being, how he lived a gospel life. While still a student, he sold all his books to feed the starving people of Palencia. He is described as having a singular gift for carrying sinners, the down-trodden and the afflicted in the inmost sanctuary of his compassion. In his long nightly prayers, he was often heard crying out to God: "My god, my Mercy, what will become of sinners?" 

It is precisely in his compassion and in his trust in God's mercy that Dominic relveals himself to be truly a vir evangelicus, a man of the Gospel. For what else is the Gospel, than the Good News about God's infinite mercy with his creatures, which made him forgive all their faithlessness and draw close to them in the incarnation, to suffer with and for them - be com-passionate with them - and thus give them a share in his life?

Dominic's preaching flowed forth, not from a need to dominate others and coerce them to agree with him, but from the depths of a compassionate heart which had itself encountered God's mercy and knew its liberating and healing power, the power of true knowledge of God as a loving Father. He regarded his neighbour with the contemplative gaze of God's own eyes, and was moved with pity. His tireless intercession and his preaching had the same source and the same goal.

First published in Polish in the magazine W drodze nr. 516 (08/2016)